Profiles in Partnership | Nan Ray

Aspire North REALTORS® places a high value on our members who give back, particularly those who dedicate their time to support our Primary Non-Profit Partner, TART Trails. In that spirit, we're giving a shout-out to Nan Ray, REALTOR® with Century 21 Northland and TART Trails Board Member.

Nan is a fourth-generation Traverse City native, finds delight in everything Northern Michigan has to offer and has a garage full of recreational equipment to prove it.  She joined Century 21 Northland as a full-time Realtor in 2016, carrying with her a degree and prior career in construction management.  She loves being able to combine her professional disciplines, create relationships, and think creatively to align clients with their housing goals, as well as “multi-event” play dates with her husband Pat and two amazing kiddos. 

Aspire North: How did you first get involved with TART Trails?
Nan: I was approached to serve on the TART board by an active board member that knew of my experience and background both as a Realtor and a former civil engineer/construction manager.  Paired with our family values of bikes and fresh air, it's a great fit and I'm flattered that he thought of me to help serve in this capacity! I'm most definitely an activity enthusiast and habitual user of many segments! 

Aspire North: Tell me about some of the projects you work on with TART.
Nan: I have done a handful of trail cleanups in 2021, associated with Aspire North and Century 21 Northland, and I had my first Development Committee this month.  It's really easy to travel down sections of trail and appreciate what they are and where they are, but my education of what it takes to maintain and build trail up and down four separate counties has been fast and furious.  This staff, and a huge network of incredible and dedicated volunteers, never quit! Every mile of trail takes a small village to make sure vegetation is kept cut back and the trail stays relatively clean!

Aspire North: What are some upcoming TART Trails projects that you’re excited about?
Nan: There's just so much to be excited about - where do I even start?  The Boardman River Loop completion is at the top of my list.  A colleague and I love to walk and talk [about] all things life and business on the Boardman Lake Trail, and instead of turning around, we'll be able to just keep going!  I have this weird personal aversion to out-and-backs and seeing the same scenery twice, so having a loop to get a great power hour in definitely makes me anxious for all those boardwalk piers to go in.  I'm also pumped to be onboarding at the same time as plans are released about both the Acme Connector and Three Mile Trail extension.  They are long overdue, and the speed at which the Three Mile Trail went from dream to reality with the finalization of the Mitchell Creek Meadows Nature Preserve is very exciting.  Our trail system isn't just about putting in miles of pavement for the sake of activity - they're a safe passage for non-motorized traffic, and an opportunity for people to safely commute for both work and play.  

Aspire North: As a real estate professional, why is TART Trails such an important organization to support?
Nan: It's no secret that our region is growing by leaps and bounds, and with the popularity of this region, it's so important to grow all aspects of community infrastructure, including trails!  Having well-built and maintained non-motorized corridors provides the opportunity to keep more bikes off the road, and a safe place to keep our community active and healthy.  The work we do now preserves these passageways for generations!

Michael Kent photo
Michael Kent
Communications & Marketing Director

As the Communications and Marketing Director, I oversee all the messaging and the manner in which it's delivered to our members.  This includes managing our weekly newsletter, social media presence, the members-only Facebook group, and our MLS Talk listserv.  With a background in visual arts, design, photography, and videography, I also help to develop original graphics, advertisements, and photo and video content.  If you're at one of our many events and see someone walking around with a camera, that's me!  As the unofficial tech guru of the office, I also work with staff to research and implement new technology and/or processes to better serve our members and reach them where they live, something that has become more important since the time of COVID.